Within the modern manufacturing industry, both CNC machining and robotics are crucial elements of automation.
There is, however, some confusion regarding whether CNC can be considered as a part of robotics itself, or if the preprogrammed machining system deserves a category of its own.
A more important and practical query on the other hand is the simple, comparative question – which technology is better?
The answer should become more evident, as we head deeper into the definitions of both, as well as comparisons.
CNC Machining: A Tried and True Method of Automation in Manufacturing
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and ever since these machines came into existence in their crudest form back in the 1950s, they have been famous for their reliably perfect accuracy and incredible speed.
By definition, all forms of CNC machining systems are preprogrammed manufacturing processes, where the CNC file or software controls every movement of the associated manufacturing machinery such as grinders, lathes, routers, saws, broachers, mills, and so on with unmatched accuracy and speed, to produce the desired result.
A more updated version of traditional CNC machining, CNC swiss machining is ideal for milling, axial drilling, eccentric axial drilling, cross-hole drilling, knurling, and threading.
CNC Swiss machining is in many ways, even better than traditional CNC machining for manufacturing medical and military parts.
Robotics: Modern Robots Bring Artificial Intelligence and Flexibility in Manufacturing Facilities
Robots are comparatively intelligent machines which are by all means on a completely different league of their own, as compared to any kind of preprogrammed CNC machines that have been created to date.
They have the ability to automate a much wider range of manufacturing tasks, and thanks to the machine learning capability of the software guiding them, modern robots can even take minor decisions of their own to improve or correct the process and reduce safety risks.
Why Robotics Cannot Yet Replace CNC Machining
The thing is, in spite of everything that manufacturing robots do have to offer, they still cannot match the perfection, accuracy, and speed of modern CNC machines.
In other words, while intelligent, robotic equipment in manufacturing is definitely more versatile and capable of automating more processes than CNC machines can ever hope to, they cannot outpace or outperform the tried and tested CNC machines in what they have been doing for decades.
Make no mistake, robots are significantly faster and more accurate in machining tasks when compared to even multiple human beings, but they are not a match for CNC machining and CNC Swiss machining systems, with respect to the specific, fixed position tasks they help the manufacturers to automate.
This is why robots and CNC machines are not even competing technology anymore, although there are companies out there that might try to sell robots as a better alternative to CNC machines.
Instead, the two work in perfect harmony with each other in a productive manufacturing unit. Robots handle the more complex tasks in automation, while CNC machining equipment continues to repetitively do what it was programmed to do, with unwavering perfection and at superb speed.
These two are often integrated into a single machine as well, which is why it is so difficult to distinguish between CNC machines and robots in factories these days.